Posted by Michael Campbell

DeviceOps: The Foundation of your Digital Transformation Journey

It seems cliche, but it’s true, that a journey to the mountain’s summit begins with a first step at its base. Organizations that aspire for digital and business transformation must commit to taking those first and foundational steps to achieve their “summit” goals.

As with any organizational transformation - the changes cannot be implemented by a single person or operational unit. There may be a Chief Digital Transformation Officer in your organization, but her job is setting the strategy and coaching the many teams necessary to achieve the organization’s goals. That’s why Digital Transformation is more often referred to as a process - not a technology. It’s also a perpetual journey, not a final destination.

DevOps Technologies Have Been a Key to Digital Transformation

As part of the cloud-native revolution, software teams and development organizations embraced DevOps. DevOps is a set of practices that combine software development (Dev) with IT operations (Ops). DevOps is not one tool or a single technology platform. It embodies many tools, organizations and processes. The challenge in DevOps is understanding how to use different tools in harmony to achieve an integrated approach to building and deploying software products and features.

But It’s Harder with Hardware

Companies that make connected products must deal with both physical and software components. IoT devices also bring the added challenge of managing network connectivity for every single device. For 90% of the world, digital transformation is an evolution. For physical product companies, digital transformation is a revolution. For these same companies, however, digital transformation also brings the power of business transformation.

In all connected product organizations, managing the lifecycle of devices is complicated. From deployment to decommissioning, there are countless tools and teams involved. To evolve, connected product companies need something similar to DevOps. In other words, they need a new framework to ignite, simplify and accelerate their transformation initiatives.

DeviceOps = DevOps for Devices

DeviceOps | dɪˈvaɪs ˈɑps | is the set of tools and processes that integrate the product development and operational management of connected devices throughout their lifecycle and value chain. DeviceOps, short for Device Operations, marries the processes and technologies used in the connected product’s value chain to:

  • Catalog
  • Provision
  • Monitor
  • Update
  • Integrate/Orchestrate
  • Analyze, and
  • Monetize

Functionally, DeviceOps goes well beyond device management. Operationally, DeviceOps involves a variety of internal and external stakeholders as well as a new, complex technology stack. Connected products leverage the power of distributed computing - at the edge and in the cloud(s). There is no way that a single team or platform can deal with all of the requirements and stakeholders involved.

EdgeIQ - A Platform for DeviceOps and Digital Transformation

DeviceOps is not a technology, but its success relies on tools for management, integration and orchestration. The foundation of the EdgeIQ platform is purpose-built to support DeviceOps in every connected product business. Our software is an API-first platform to simplify and scale the Processes, People and Tools for any Connected Product businesses. With a total focus on tools for connected device manufacturers and their value chain, EdgeIQ allows you to focus your resources on innovation, not the underlying infrastructure. In other words, we provide the plumbing so you can build new and elegant solutions. 

Here’s what the entire DeviceOps framework looks like:

Dev Ops Loop - Updated - White BG

Fleet Management (Catalog)

EdgeIQ helps organizations create a single system of record for all connected IoT devices - whether in the warehouse, distribution centers or a customer site. The information can be uploaded in bulk from other systems. And, it can be easily integrated with external systems. Important data and metadata about devices can be dynamically updated as events and updates occur with devices.

Provision

The greatest invention since sliced bread may be Zero Touch Configuration. EdgeIQ helps organizations automatically provision devices at first power-up. Network configurations, heartbeat reports, software updates and data federation policies can be sent to devices when they initially provision. No human intervention required.

Monitoring

Do simple wellness monitoring of any device registered in the platform. This can include basic heartbeat messages, network wellness and data collection from entire systems. Monitoring policies can be set as part of standard device configuration. And, they canna be initiated once the device connects for the very first time. These policies can also be changed at any time.

Notifications and Actions

The real value of monitoring is the ability to notify, alert and act upon information, in real time when possible. EdgeIQ allows organizations to create policies that automate predefined alerts, notifications and actual actions based on information and events at the edge or in the cloud. Customers can create policies for virtually any workflow or action that they want to take.

Integration and Automation

IoT devices, their data and users don’t exist in isolation but do often dwell in operational silos. EdgeIQ provides an easy way to securely integrate every device, person, system, application and data stream. We allow you to use your own cloud infrastructure and application accounts. We don’t force a hub and spoke architecture. Instead, we take a federated, policy-based approach that reduces latency and security risks.

Software Update Management

Software may be the most important component on a hardware product and IoT device. Software also requires tools to deploy, monitor and update at the OS, firmware, application and even machine learning services level. Our tools simplify and automate sending specific updates to specific devices or accounts or geographies and particular times of day. EdgeIQ also handles retry management and provides an audit log of execution success or failure.

Data Orchestration

There are two primary reasons to connect an IoT device to a network and the internet - command/control and to access its data. EdgeIQ provides a framework for consuming data from any device over any network. More importantly, we can normalize, filter, throttle and federate the data to any destination, or multiple destinations. All of this can be done leveraging the same policies for creating integrations, automations, notifications and event triggers. Once again, EdgeIQ allows you to send data to their destination without passing through an intermediary cloud.

Administration

Connected products have a complex value chain. It is composed of billions of customers, end users, operational support teams and supply chain partners. As a result, creating and managing roles, permissions, data access and control access across complex internal and external organizations is an enormous challenge. EdgeIQ provides a mechanism for very granular management and administration of the users, organizations, roles and permissions involved in DeviceOps. This includes leveraging existing third-party systems for managing users and roles.

API-First

Because DeviceOps is not a monolithic business process or platform,
it is essential that technology which helps improve these operations must be service-based building blocks, or API-first. Your organization already has a PLM system, a CRM system, field service/customer support, ERP, supply chain management, etc. DeviceOps does not replace these systems. DeviceOps orchestrates workflows between them. DeviceOps shares data among them. For all these reasons, the data and workflows must be consumable as RESTful services and allow organizations to leverage their existing investments - but bridge them and make them more intelligent. EdgeIQ provides API resources for every imaginable management and workflow requirement in your processes.

We Can Help

The wonderful thing about journeys to the summit is that they are best done with a team. Whether it’s helping you scope or actually implement a DeviceOps program for your business, the EdgeIQ team is here for you. This is all we do and we’d love to be a part of your adventure.

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